W.I. Newsletter July 2019

We have been out and about this month starting on the 4th July with an historical walk around Winchester.  It is easy to forget, as we go about our everyday lives, that history is literally under our feet and sometimes, if we are lucky, still existing in front of our eyes.

It was a lovely warm summer’s evening and our delightful guide, Erica Wheeler, brought history to life for us.  We started outside The Great Hall and then proceeded down the High Street and finished in the Cathedral Close. Although we had opened this event to family and friends, which did include a few men, Erica had decided she would introduce a few of the more colourful female characters of the City along the way.  We heard about a Queen or two, Licoricia a wealthy money lender who came to a sticky end, as did so many at that time, as well as a few others.  Despite hearing about some violent occurrences, it was a lovely enjoyable evening.

Our speaker this month was Steve Herra who had been a Purser for the Cunard Line.  Steve described Samuel Cunard as a cautious man, but nevertheless he won a contract in 1838 to deliver mail across the Atlantic quicker than the six weeks it took at that time.  The problem was he had no money and no ships (does that sound familiar?).   Despite these drawbacks he set to work and by also carrying fare paying passengers to make it viable, the steamship Britannia managed the crossing from Liverpool to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1840 in 13 days.

Crossing the Atlantic on a Cunard Ship proved popular amongst the rich and famous including film stars, authors and politicians.  Steve obviously has a sense of humour as amongst his many slides illustrating his talk, he had included a few comical ones which had obviously been edited with the aid modern technology.

Cunard ships also played a part in both World Wars transporting troops, but the shipping line’s fortunes went up and down over the years, but eventually the line was sold and now has three cruise ships; Queen Mary II, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.  There is a new ship due in 2022 and there was some speculation as to which Queen it would be named after!

No meeting in August, but as you will see from the diary notes we will continue to meet up and obviously continue with preparations for refreshments at the fete on 07 September.

Diary Dates


1st August         – Outing to Eltham Palace

3rd August         – Breakfast Club

6th August         – Reading Group

10th August        – Walking Group

22nd August       – Supper Club

31st August        – Lunch Club